Negatives at Workplace
Aliving organisation would never be in denial that it is filled with both emotions of positivism and negativism. Every single organisation, every work station, every division, is surrounded by colleagues who are unfortunately ‘possessed’ of negative tendencies.
Such can only see the dark, the very dark clouds in almost every facet of life. They are even blind to the promise of the silver linings behind these dark clouds. They ignore them and hence are oblivious to the potential of the ‘silver linings’ attached to difficulties in work and life. These are seen by the negatively oriented as a scientific deception to looming depression of clouds. Little do they realise that even the longest day has an end.
Negatively inclined colleagues would quickly point loopholes even in the best of initiatives. They would never look at half a glass as an opportunity; they would only crib and complain why it isn’t full. These types of colleagues are like the hyenas - they lark in office corridors waiting for the unsuspecting positive colleagues and then attack them venomously with negative news; depressing views, unsubstantiated hearsay that could be of no relevance to either of them, but it is done with the sole motive to rob the individual of the positive energy. Their job description they think is to cause incorrect-able pollution of minds.
I have always identified these individuals with the glorious nick-name of “corporate mother-in-laws.” They love the language of sarcasm and taunt. They enjoy teasing. They relish in derailing people from their goals.
I had a senior colleague in Hong Kong, by descent an Indian, who would respond to any credit proposition with, ‘…….. that I know, but…’ and that ‘but’ always invariably meant death at initiation of the transaction. None could break through the great wall of negativism that he had so lovingly built around himself. It is another matter that later in life the same became his career’s prison walls. He entrapped himself in negativity;g y while the positivep world around him moved forward. The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptile of the mind, says William Blake.
In dealing with those colleagues who are afflicted with this trait, it is best firstly to accept, that we are dealing with some bacteria for which no corporate vaccine or antibiotic has been found. In fact, it is a stage four cancer at its very beginning itself for it is bound to eat away from within the good cells of the organisation. Treatment therefore has to begin before its lethal onset. Unchecked it can become endemic and epidemic.
If recognition of the problem individuals is fast, speedy, and quick, then it is safe to rely upon the age old held opinion that negativism is impermanent because it is on conflict with man’s innate nature of being positive. A door shut is an opportunity that it can be opened and unlocked. Negativism in life is but a waste of time. Positivity prompts action. Negativity kills passion and effort. As Churchill would have remarked, I am an optimist and a positive person because it does not seem to be much use in being anything else.
At the workplace in dealing with
these types of individuals, develop a no-nonsense attitude to the intruder who would want to spend time with you with no good work at hand but only to bite into your calmness and to pollute your mind. Be wary of such colleagues who would otherwise appear outwardly as good intentioned and positive but in their insides reside oceans of venom waiting to be unleashed upon the shores of positive minds.
As managers and supervisors, adopt a positive posture. Let no challenge or tension bring upon visibility to the onlooker colleague because this is considered to be the most opportune time for the ‘bacteria of negativism’ to attack when the immunity of positive defences is lowered. A manager must keep himself insulated against such attacks while being cognisant of his own state of mind. In a challenging situation, when the most profound approach is demanded of the manager, it is important to avoid exposure to those colleagues who may attach during such sensitive situations; instead during periods of business challenges; a good and sensible manager would be intelligent to surround himself with colleagues who are possessed with positive thought, energy, and enthusiasm.
Managers must ensure to develop a cold and stoic face in dealing with anyone who brings a hear-say with wishes to create doubts and suspicions or wants to narrate ‘stories’ about others. A manager must guard himself through a cold stare or do (what I prefer to do) give a cold shoulder; so that no future negative adventurism is indulged in.
I personally believe and subscribe that all reaction to negative news is a broad smile or if necessary a comment on the lines of ‘that’s one way of looking at things.’ A manager must learn to keep composure when hearing things that are likely to cause internal revulsion; let there be no facial expression of anger or feelings of distraught; remain placid and calm.
Attempt to end conversations with negative colleagues, by asking them to view things differently. Work upon them slowly for conversion to positivity of thought. I am certain only a few dosages would alter their mental makeup barring the diehard and the unfortunate. We must learn from the bee that sucks the sweetest honey from the bitterest of flowers. Deal gently to get them on rails, otherwise a strong retaliatory reaction would usher more negatives. At times it is the consultation with the ignorant that gives access to unknown wisdom.
There is an Irish saying count your joys instead of your woes; count your friends instead of your foes. Try to quote this to those who are in need of a reminder.